Is It Safe To Take Melatonin To Help You Sleep?

Here’s everything you need to know about melatonin for sleep.

We all know the challenges that come with not getting good quality sleep. If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, you may be looking for something—anything!—that can help you finally get that delicious slumber. While sleep disorders such as insomnia should always be evaluated and treated by our Bradenton, FL, sleep medicine specialist Dr. Jeremy McConnell, here’s what you should know about catching ZZZs with melatonin.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is the sleep hormone, which the pineal gland in our brain secretes at night to help us sleep; however, melatonin can also be derived from plants and made into a supplement to help with sleep. Cool fact: melatonin isn’t just integral for sleep. It also plays a role in managing cortisol, regulating blood pressure and keeping your immune system healthy and strong. Once the sun sets, darkness lets our pineal gland know it’s time to release melatonin to prepare us for sleep.

When Does Melatonin Get Released by the Body?

As long as we don’t affect melatonin’s release (more on that later!), the body typically secretes this hormone around 9 pm, with melatonin levels peaking around 2 am.

When Does Melatonin Help With Sleep?

While melatonin isn’t something to be used regularly, it can be beneficial for treating certain sleep disorders such as insomnia. Our Bradenton, FL, sleep team may also recommend it for shift workers or to alleviate jet lag symptoms. Melatonin can also help individuals fall asleep faster and stay asleep.

When Should I Take Melatonin?

Just as melatonin tends to be secreted by the brain about two hours before most people hit the sack, you should take your melatonin supplement about one to two hours before you plan to go to bed.

Is Melatonin Safe To Use?

Yes, when taken at the proper dosage, melatonin is safe; however, some people experience side effects such as headaches, next-day grogginess or brain fog and dizziness. This may be more likely to occur if you’ve taken too much. Stick with a smaller dose (around 0.3mg) and gradually increase the dose if you don’t notice an effect.

Will Taking Melatonin Impact My Body’s Ability To Produce It?

You’ve probably heard people say that taking melatonin supplementation is bad because it could stop your body from producing this hormone on its own. Luckily this isn’t true. A melatonin supplement will not impact your brain’s ability to make it on its own.

How Can I Boost My Own Natural Melatonin Production?

Since melatonin release is triggered by darkness, it’s essential to reduce exposure to any lights at night, which could delay melatonin production (and be the cause of your insomnia). While you should keep lights dim and avoid electronics about two hours before bed, if you do need to use your electronics, at least try blue-light blocking glasses to help shield your eyes from some of the harmful effects of the computer or phone’s blue light.

If you are dealing with insomnia, you must turn to our Bradenton, FL, sleep doctor Dr. McConnell and the Florida Sleep Specialists team for treatment. After all, while melatonin supplementation can be helpful, there are other ways in which we can help you better manage your sleep disorder. Call (941) 792-8383 to schedule an evaluation.